Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille has been slammed for spending more than R2 million on overseas trips this year.
The five outings will cost ratepayers R2.2 million.
This is five times as much as she spent last year, which amounted to R409 015, reports the Cape Argus.
De Lille has already gone on two of the trips in the past two weeks, approved by her deputy Ian Nielson in June.
The ANC said the expenditure was “unacceptable”, while the ACDP labelled the trips “ridiculous”.
But City Council spokeswoman Priya Reddy said the cost was in line with the city council’s new approach to international relations and austerity measures adopted before the Treasury guidelines were issued in March.
“It was decided that the mayor would be the face of the City and that she would attend the most important events which would elevate the City’s international profile,” said Reddy.
In a circular, the Treasury urged municipalities to curtail overseas travel, unless there were “strong motivations”.
While the city budgeted R12.5m for international travel this year, Reddy said less than R4m was spent.
Last month, De Lille led a delegation of the City Council and Wesgro to Turkey to promote Cape Town as an investment destination and to stimulate the market for locally produced goods and services.
Last week she went to the Netherlands for three days to attend the assembly of the Global Parliament for Mayors.
The two trips cost more than R400 000.
But the most expensive outing, at R850 000, is still to come; in October, De Lille is visiting five American cities in 10 days, reportedly to “expand trade relations”.